As I write this blog entry, our students and faculty are entering their final days before school begins, thinking about the year to come and the possibilities of our future together at Proctor. Many of us, including myself, are preparing to head back to school by going on Wilderness Orientation with those brand new to the school.
While it was ninety degrees and sunny in Andover, New Hampshire yesterday, the ski season never truly stops for Proctors USS/FIS ski program. Over the past two weeks, twenty-three athletes and four coaches traveled to Saas Fee, Switzerland for an intensive training and team bonding experience, all while immersing themselves in European culture.
All relationships need nurturing, and Proctor’s 2022 South Dakota Summer Service Trip strengthened our Rosebud connections. Fourteen students and three of us as faculty leaders learned so much through painting and sprucing up a community center in brutal heat, jostling in the back of pickup trucks in search of a buffalo herd, working at an equine therapy ranch and riding horses, and sharing cool evening meals in our campsite. We all came away with a better understanding of ourselves and our country through observing life on the Rosebud Reservation. Below are some of our experiences.
Understanding ourselves is the first step to understanding how to do your best work. As adults, we are cognizant of the environment needed for us to be our best: level of ideal structure, types of colleagues who complement us best, independence, clear guidance. We learn this overtime, throughout different professional experiences. But what about our students? How do we help them understand the conditions needed for them to do their best work, and are we providing an environment in which they can thrive as self-aware, curious, inquisitive, self-advocating learners?
The last two 4th of Julys in Andover have been incredibly quiet as COVID-19 canceled festivities in town. Today marked the return of the small town Americana scenes that have played a central role in our town’s Independence Day Celebrations for the past 80 years. For those who have never experienced Andover on the 4th of July, add it to your bucket list.
Proctor’s faculty recognizes there is a considerable benefit to sustained learning when students remain engaged in academic pursuits during the summer months. Understanding our students also need down time, summer jobs, time with family, and plenty of time to adventure, we limit summer academic expectations to three components each year: summer literacy, summer math review, and AP course/off-campus program specific reading requirements.
The blur of a COVID-19 induced summer quarantine is upon us during these seemingly endless days of summer. We each have settled into our own summer routine: exercise, work, reading, house projects, family time, swimming, sleep, repeat. And while we can hardly complain about the luxury of living in lake-laden rural New Hampshire during one of the hottest and sunniest July’s on record, our annual anticipation of returning to a school-year routine is starting to creep into our existence.
We build connection one relationship at a time, one day at a time, one conversation at a time. Throughout our lives, some of these relationships flourish as we nurture them, while others become overgrown with the weeds of busyness and inattention. Proctor's relationship with the Lakota Sioux on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota is one of those cherished relationships to which we have attended regularly over the last thirty-five years. Our connection grew once again as seven students and two adults (Patty Pond and Peter Logan '95) spent ten days at Rosebud learning, serving, and drinking in the rich culture of our Lakota family. Read reflections from this summer's service trip to Rosebud below.